Old manual lenses on DSLR video

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by matteusclement, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #1
    Anyone have experience using old pentax, Nikon or Minolta glass on DSLR's for video? The prices seem way better, even with the adapter. Plus, the throw lengths are much better than current glass that is designed to be fast for photos.

    Are there some highly sought after lenses that work really well with DSLR video?
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    #2
    I have done this with pretty good success. Just shot a music video recently on a Canon 5D MKII using all Nikon Manual/Prime lenses (with an adapter of course). Somes issues can arrise such as with a few older nikons, there is a tab that sticks out in the lens mount that prevented me from using it with the 5D (some people have actually cut this now-unneeded tab off).

    Personally I'm looking at getting a new DSLR with a really solid brand new all around zoom lens and then just stick with old primes for more controlled, tripod, or studio work.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    fox10078

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #3
    I have an old Nikon I use with my d7000, it's probably my favorite lens. Works great, I always use manual mode so i like having the aperture ring on the lens.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #4
    All manual... The way I learned on my k1000 Pentax.
     
  5. macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #5
    Most lenses with f2.8 or faster aperture are probably designed better.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 24, 2008
    #6
    I have a quantary 28mm f/2.8 (m42 mount). Apparently it's a rebranded Sigma mini-wide 28mm f/2.8 lens. I paid 20$ for it and it's was well worth it. I use it on a t2i so it becomes a nice standard length prime. It does vignette a bit when wide open and it's probably not the sharpest tool in the shed but for video, it gets the job done. It has a much wider focus throw and the whole things just feels so much more solid. Cheap Canon lens wiggle around when you move the focus. Not this lens or most older all metal lenses.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the coating on older lenses is not as advanced and they flare waaaaay more than new lens. That's great when you want the flaring but 90% of the time you don't want it. Consider getting a hood.

    For video, if you have a toss up between cheaply built new lenses and cheap vintage lenses, for video, I think you're better off with old lenses. You'll still be doing everything manually and what they might lack in sharpness will probably not be that noticeable for video.

    There's some hype around certain vintage lenses. Nikons seem to be more expensive as they still fit the new bodies. Olympus Zuiko 24 and 28mm are quite sought after. Brand name f/1.4 50mm go for quite a bit, though you can get a 50mm f/1.8 for pretty cheap (not sure how big of a difference that would be for real life video). Basically, any prime under 50mm with a wide aperture built by reputable maker is worth something. ;)

    Deals to be had. Look at your local craigslist/kijiji when you find something interesting google the mount to see if it can be adapted to your body. Then look for reviews. There always seem to be some discussion group about pretty much any worthy lens on flickr.
     
  7. Guest

    ppc_michael

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    Apr 26, 2005
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    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    I use Pentax K-mount lenses on my DSLR regularly, as well as my Bolex. It's good stuff.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #8
    I've used a bunch of different old nikon primes on my 7D and have had good results.

    If you're looking to use these lenses primarily for video, then it wouldn't be a bad idea to have them de-clicked. That's basically just modifying them so there isn't a hard stop between apertures.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #9
    hey pete, why would you have that done and how would you have it done?

    FLARING: yeah, I thought of that and will have to be careful. On a 22mm it could get a little tricky. All my videos will look like JJ Abrams if I am not careful.

    WIDE ANGLE: the old wide angles (less than 20mm) had pretty bad distortion. for super wide, I am going for Tinoka's 11-16mm.

    F2.8 or LOWER: this is the way to go. There was one F4 the guy at the camera store said was razor sharp. I'll check it out.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #10
    I'll go with a set of Nikon AI Lenses. Great Lenses at Great Price. Just beware of the condition when you buy them second hand. But you won't regret them!
     
  11. macrumors 65816

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  12. macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 6, 2011
    #12
    If you come from "kit lenses", you'll be amazed to see some moire and aliasing in your footage, as them thar old primes are pretty sharp.
    For extreme wide angle, I wouldn't get a vintage lens. Modern offerings are optically better (and old wide angles are still very expensive). Look into some 28/35mm as standard, and a 50mm as short tele.

    A good, trustable source for old glass is KEH.com. They underrate their offerings oftentimes.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #13
    Might grab a 135mm 2.8 for good measure
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
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    victoria
    #14
    Infinity?

    I have seen that the minolta lenses can be mounted but you lose infinity.
    As I am using these for video, I find a hard time thinking of a time where i would need infinity.
    Before I go buy a bunch and make an idiot of myself, can someone suggest otherwise?
     
  15. Policar, May 8, 2012
    Last edited: May 8, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #15
    You'll need to focus on infinity extremely frequently when shooting video. Establishing shots? There are probably adapters with optical elements that let you focus on infinity, but infinity focus is incredibly crucial.

    I use a kit of nikkors on my 5D III: 28mm f2, 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8, 135mm f2.8, which was as close as I could get to 18/25/35/50/85 Super35 equivalent in terms of FOV (that's the kit of focal lengths I'm used to). I also have a 24mm f2, which is garbage, and an 85mm f2, which is okay. The 105mm f2.5, which I don't own, is a gem. All have 52mm threads, which means ND filters are easy. The faster models have larger threads.

    The sharpness is not great wide open on any of those lenses, but by f2.8 or f4 they meet or beat modern high end zooms with a little more flare, less contrast, and significantly better bokeh. They have a great feel. The only real issue is that most Nikon adapters allow focus past infinity, which will make any AC hate you because the focus marks will be wrong. So you have to write your own focus marks or shim your adapters. Nikkors are expensive at an average of $100-$200 per reasonably fast lens and dramatically more for exotic ones. Olympus/Contax is more expensive. FD or anything that needs an optical adapter is less.

    Old lenses are a much more compelling buy for full frame than for APS-C because the 28mm is as wide on full frame as a 17mm is on APS-C. And you need something that wide to outfit a decent kit, but there are few old fast primes that are that wide excepting cinema lenses.

    What I really, really want is a 21mm f2 Zuiko.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #16
    My favourite was an old Minolta MD f1.7. The lack of stabilization eventually caught up, and I ended up having to sell it.
     

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